James Cameron's got a lot riding on his eventual Avatar sequels; not just the time and money he's already invested in them, but his reputation as well. The first film was six years ago, and while it remains the highest-grossing movie of all-time, nobody really treats it as such. The length of time between sequels hasn't helped to keep up any enthusiasm for, and it doesn't seem to be getting any better.
The last thing we heard about them was Cameron pushing the release dates back a full year to fine tune the scripts. That meant Avatar 2 wouldn't arrive until 2017, and since he recently added a fourth film the schedule is even more of a headache. And according to his recent comments to EW, there's still a lot of work left to be done.
"I’m in the process of doing another pass through all three scripts right now…Just refining. That’s in parallel with the design process. The design process is very mature at this point. We’ve been designing for about a year and a half. All the characters, settings and creatures are all pretty much [set]."
For most studio franchises the gap between sequels is around two years, but Cameron is fine making audiences wait a total of eight years between Avatar. Despite its position at the top of the box office the fondness for Avatar isn't the same as for Jurassic Park, so if Cameron is hoping to pull a Jurassic World here he may be in for a shock. And Cameron knows the pressure is on him to make sure these movies live up to the standard he already set...
"Obviously, expectations are going to be very high on these films, especially on Avatar 2, to make sure it wasn’t just some big fluke the first time. So we’ve got to deliver.”